[Marxism] El Telón de Azúcar, Cuba and socialism

Waistline2 at aol.com Waistline2 at aol.com
Fri Apr 10 16:06:34 MDT 2009

>> Many people -not only Stalinists, to be honest to ourselves- had a  
dream during the 20th Century, a dream grounded in a somehow metaphisical belief 
 that whatever the chances the Soviet Union would never fall down. This 
belief  was not only naïve but in a sense crudely Positivist (against 
Hegelian), and  expressed a deep conviction that once socialism had taken grip, 
however  distortedly and cruelly, somewhere in a large industrial society (and by 
the  early 60s the SU was beginning to have some of the traits of 
industrial  societies), then every experiment tending to favor national liberation in 
the  Third World would find some kind of at least passive support from that 
 formation. The feeling that there existed an umbrella, so to say.<< 
The moral imperative, ideology and concepts of "right and wrong" or in the  
American context "the inalienable rights of man" had always played a 
powerful  role in the life of American and in my life. Ideology - the idea as 
morality,  shaped who I am and much of this early ideology was derived from the 
Church -  the King James version of the Bible; intense political discussions 
in the home  and the social, economic and political environment of Detroit 
in the 1960's. 
Before I had located Cuba on the map, "I knew" - was taught from a thousand 
 and one different directions, that the Cuban Revolution was right, just 
and the  people of Cuba wanted to be free to choose their own destiny. The 
year was 1968.  The younger militants had just returned from visiting Cuba and 
said Fidel was a  great leader and Che was a fearless fighter and 
revolutionary against American  imperialism.  American imperialism was why blacks in 
America were fighting  and dying in the streets and why my father fought on 
the job and in the union.  American imperialism was why "the government" 
hated blacks, Malcolm X and he  supported the Cuban Revolution. In 1968, months 
after the Great Detroit  Rebellion of 1967, I was 16 years old and felt 
myself to be a man. At 16, "I  knew" something was wrong with the Soviet Union 
and this wrong resided in  something identified as a lack of democracy which 
meant for me people in the  Soviet Union were treated worse than blacks in 
Yet, in my mind the Soviet Union was powerful with missiles, a huge army  
and the Soviets supported Cuba, although the Soviets could not be trusted and 
 China could be trusted. The Soviets could not be trusted because of what 
they  did to Lumumba and the Congo. I did not know what the Soviets did to 
Lumumba,  but I did not like it. No one around me liked it and thus I hated 
what I did not  know. My hate of what the Soviets did, and passion was real 
and part of a  political continuum and ideology that seemed to have no 
beginning of end. In  1969/70 while searching for more books to read in the groups 
office  library  I picked up a book in a trilogy; the title read "The 
Prophet  Armed." The title of the other two books read, "The Prophet Unarmed" and 
"The  Prophet Outcast." I open the first book and when I stopped reading 
three days  later all three books had been read and I was horrified at the 
treatment of the  man named Trotsky. This was during the period of the 
Sino-Soviet split and I was  most certainly firmly within the China polarity because 
everyone else was. 
Who is this man called Stalin? Why is he condemned by some and praised by  
others? What is the Soviet Union and its history? Whose side is the Soviet 
Union  on in the "Vietnam conflict?" I located a small pamphlet with the name 
of Stalin  on it. The title read: Marxism and the National Question" 
grouped with a half  dozen books from Calcutta, all on the national and national 
colonial question. I  read Marxism and the national question and was 
profoundly affected. The only  other books to affected me on this level and alter my 
thinking was the  autobiography of Malcolm X and Ludwig Feuerbach & the End 
of Classical  German Philosophy. Marxism and the National Question was 
about me . . .   personally, my family and everyone I knew. This book was about 
Cuba and China  and the colonial revolts and revolutions sweeping the earth. 
Lenin's writings on  the national question and national-colonial question 
now made sense! Classes in  their rise and fall made sense; capitalism made 
sense. The "Prophet" trilogy did  not make sense because something is missing 
and I do not know what the missing  something is or in what it consists. 
The "Third World" makes no sense. There can be no third way between  
American imperialism or Soviet Power. That is why the comrades say the "Third  
Way" is bullshit and can never be supported on the ideological and theoretical  
plan, but one must unconditionally support revolution and revolutionary 
impulses  through the world, with Cuba holding a special place in our hearts. 
Fidel is  militant, principled and sending troops to confront the 
imperialists in areas of  the sharpest conflicts while the Soviets hurl insults and 
preached the dangers  of nuclear war, as a cover for cowardice and appeasement 
to imperialism. 
"Send conventional weapons to the combatants in the hot war against  
aggressive American imperialism," we thought.  
"Be like Cuba." 
"Do not hate Soviet Power or the Soviet Union. Criticize a general policy  
and theoretical proposition, but never align yourself in such a way that you 
are  part of the enemy attack against Soviet power. Never . . . ever . . . 
mistake a  theoretical proposition for the concrete struggle taking place in 
real time.  Support revolutions unconditionally and states conditionally 
and you will never  be maneuvered into aligning with your enemy." 
30 years have passed since these early lessons. 
Fighting within a polarity is not for the faint of heart. Anyone can throw  
theoretical "alley apples" - bricks, at any given leader, or criticize any 
given  policy of any government and party on earth. In fact we seem to excel 
at this  kind of intellectual activity in America, which I suppose 
expresses the daily  power of being part of the most imperial of all imperialist 
states. Anyone in  America with a computer can daily search the CIA factbook 
and get the raw basic  information on every country on earth and then 
superimpose their personal  ideology over the raw data and facts. 
The Cuban Revolution is an objective historically evolved social process. 
The revolution created and then was guided by its subjective elements: the  
revolutionaries. At the same time the form and content of the revolution 
evolves  against and through these aspects in a world that is leaping to a new 
mode of  production or a genuine revolution in the underlying machinery of 
industrial  society. It is this underlying revolution in the material power 
of production  that began the dislocation of the Soviet Union.  This 
dislocation was  written about in the early 1980s. At the time a popular book on 
this subject was  the 1980 published "The Third Wave," which was the decade 
follow up book of the  1970 issued "Future Shock." 
The overthrow of Soviet power and the break up of the Soviet Union by  
imperial reaction and domestic agents of the imperialist bourgeoisie was not  
inevitable although the transformation of the Soviet Union was inevitable as 
the  result of changes in the productive forces of society. The revolution 
always,  without exception begins in the productive machinery of society, 
while  insurrection and insurrectionary movements arise as the material 
expression of  the contest for political authority. In my opinion this distinction 
is not  understood well enough across the broad communists and Marxist 
The danger to the Cuban revolution is presented from many directions.  The 
revolution in the productive forces as Cuba races ahead to realize and  
implements these new tools and machinery and the insurrectionary movement always 
 present in all modern societies are two important aspects of the general  
danger.  American imperialism's 50 year pressure on tiny Cuba exacerbates  
the two aspects of the revolutionary process and the easing of the blockade  
against Cuba is viewed by our domestic reaction as a new basis for renewed  
attacks to over throw Cuban socialism as its society is slowly dislocated in 
 response to the universal revolution in production. 
Revolution in the productive forces always dislocate and reorder society .  
. . period. 
Today, socialism has been thoroughly grasped by the Cuban masses as the  
necessary form of the revolution in the mode of production. Socialism is a  
material force in Cuba because it allows for the constant expansion and  
consolidation of the content of the political insurrection, which was freedom  
and independence from American imperialism. 
The overthrow of Cuban socialism today would mean the reduction of the  
absolute majority of the population to the status of blacks in America and the  
reordering of Cuban society back to and on the basis of the color factor in 
our  common history. In this sense Obama possesses a serious social problem 
for Cuba.  Before the revolution Cuba was perhaps 30% black. Today, Cuba is 
perhaps 75%  black. The idea that the color factor is not an aspect of the 
revolution cannot  be assumed. 
Domestic reaction in Cuba understands what all of us understand: the  
tendency of globalism - capitalism in the era of the electronics revolution,  
tend to apply pressure for the dismantling of the national state, as it had  
existed, while favoring domestic leaders as the supreme political authority  
within states. Reaction today can formulate political ideological as  
anti-colonial while bringing Cuba into "reality relations" of today and improve  
the standard of living of the Cuban masses. 
A tendency of the left in Cuba attack the socialist bureaucracy - Ariel  
Dias, without regard to the state being the fundamental armed guardian of  
socialist property in Cuba. The attacks takes place through a liberal and  
bourgeois analysis of the  bureaucracy as a historical artifact and the  role of 
"the Soviet  bureaucracy" in history. 
This tendency, view inequality in Cuba as being the result of wrong policy  
rather than having its roots in the division of labor and is destined to  
intersect with the counterrevolution. Inequality in consumption or equality 
in  consumption is not and has never been the hallmark of socialism or 
economic  communism. Consequently, Dias views the savior of the Cuban revolution 
to  consistent in smart and enlightened rrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrevolutionary people, 
rather  than ideological firmness. Ideology and the moral imperative is not 
identical to  theoretical disposition. Theoretical insight is most 
certainly important but  what saves the revolution ass is ideology and the moral 
commitment to die for  the revolution. 
In my opinion Dias writing on the Soviet experience is outright incorrect,  
dangerous and express a petty bourgeois ideological trend in Cuba, whose 
end  game leaves the revolution defenseless against the onslaught of imperial  
capital. The bureaucracy cannot be defeated decisively outside the process 
of  the withering away of the state.  Bureaucratism is continuously defeated 
on  the basis of ideological commitment and streamlining the actual 
administrative  function of the state and production units in league with apply new 
forms of  productive equipment that renders one layer after another 
redundant. Ideological  commitment as revolutionary credential means avoiding 
privileges and working  whole heartedly for the revolution, even as the masses 
surge forwards to enjoy  the fruits of our modern consumer society. 
At times this form of ideological struggle appears to have more in common  
with Catholicism and doctrines of the love of flesh, but this is not the 
whole  picture. The masses themselves hold in contempt those who privilege is 
acquired  by party membership or ones social position within the bureaucracy. 

Is a counterrevolutionary restoration of bourgeois property possible in  
Cuba? Yes. Cuba does not possess the material foundation for economic 
communism.  Nor, did the Soviet Union. Once a new mode of production - not simply 
the  property form in the superstructure, takes root and begins its 
development it is  impossible to drag society back to a mode of production, which the 
new mode grew  out of . It was only at a certain stage of development of the 
productive  machinery of society that capitalism as the industrial system 
of commodity  production could not be dragged back to the landed property 
relations and landed  property as the primary form of property relations. 
Until Cuba achieve the material foundation for economic communism, which is 
 in the distant future, ideological firmness is the key to whether the 
revolution  can withstand the tremendous pressure the counterrevolution exerts 
against it.  Revolution in America would diminish such danger but not totally 
render such  impossible. 
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